Here’s What You Need to Know About Buying Lingerie


Even when you’re a woman buying for herself, it can be hard to choose lingerie. Just as with any other type of clothes, lingerie sizing can be very inconsistent between brands. Bra sizing is opaque, and you need to practically be a detective to track down bras in your size if you have exceptionally large or small breasts. 

But buying lingerie doesn’t have to be a source of stress. In fact, it can be downright empowering if you know how to go about it. It helps if you know your measurements and fit yourself properly for a bra size. Then you just need to know what kind of lingerie you’re looking for, and you can find your size online or in a boutique with the help of a sales associate.

Measure Yourself

Before you can successfully buy lingerie sets, teddies, rompers, bras, corsets, and the like, you need to know your own measurements. It’s pretty easy to measure your own hips, waist, and bust so you can find your size in things like corsets, chemises, garter belts, and bodysuits.

To measure your waist, hips, and bust sizes, get a tailor’s measuring tape – you can probably buy one just about anywhere, as it’s a basic sewing notion. Wrap the tape measure around the widest part of your hips, making sure it stays straight in back, to get your hip measurement. Do the same with your bust – put on a well-fitting bra and measure the circumference of the widest part of your bust. 

Measuring the waist can be a little tricky, because you’ll need to measure your natural waist, which may be a little higher than you might expect. To find your natural waist, stand up straight and then lean to one side. This should make the skin over your obliques crease at the natural waist point. Measure the circumference of your body at the natural waist point. 

You’re also going to need to measure yourself (or get measured) for a bra. You’ll need to take several different measurements in order to determine your bra size. (Don’t just assume you know your bra size – many women don’t realize they’re wearing the wrong size bra!) A Bra that Fits operates a bra size calculator that will walk you through the measurements you need to take and give you your correct bra size. Don’t be surprised if it’s bigger than you expect! Bra cup volumes aren’t consistent – they change according to the size of the band, so someone with a fairly average-sized bust could still fill out a D cup or larger.

Look Abroad for Unusual Sizing

Many American bra manufacturers focus on the core sizes, which run from 32B to about 36 D. Plenty of women have smaller or larger breasts that don’t fit into that metric. Plus-size ranges typically produce bras for band sizes 38 and up. Full-bust ranges offer bras for slimmer women with large busts. 

If you have an unusual bra size that you struggle to find in stores, it’s time you learned about European bra bands. Bra companies in the UK and Poland are well known for producing bras in a much more inclusive range of sizes. Just make sure you’re getting the right size. Convert your U.S. bra size to a UK size or a European one.

Choose Cut-and-Sew Bras for More Support

If you need more support and better shaping from your bras, it’s time to ditch the molded foam cups. Go for unlined, cut-and-sew bras – the kind that are made with thin, lacy, delicate fabric and have seams in the cups. These bras are engineered for maximum shaping and support. Plus, they typically come with pretty lace, bows, and other nice detailing.

Know Your Lingerie Types

There are so many types of lingerie beyond just bra and panty sets. Familiarize yourself with the different types, especially if you want to titillate your partner with something new every weekend. Basics include bodysuits/teddies, garter belts, chemises, corsets, bustiers, rompers, camisoles, and tap shorts. Some are designed to be worn under clothes, while others are more for lounging around. Usually, the items that are meant to be worn under clothes offer more structure and support, while lingerie for lounging around the honeymoon suite is looser and more comfortable, if not just as revealing. Some items, like corsets and bustiers, can even be worn on their own as tops.

Shopping for lingerie can be a really intimidating experience if you don’t know what you’re looking for – but once you do, the mystery clears up and you’ll be empowered to buy underthings that will make you feel fantastic every time you wear them.

Written by Megan Taylor
Megan is a beauty expert who is passionate about all things makeup and glam! Her love for makeup has brought her to become a beauty pro at Glamour Garden Cosmetics.